My Story on Passing the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) Exam

By Jocelyn Hodson, APR and Account Director at Fahlgren Mortine

When I set out nearly 10 years ago to pursue my APR, by way of a nine-week prep course, I had no idea it would take me this long to get to the final step and pass the exam. I have always felt very strongly that pursuing the APR is a testament to your commitment to the profession, so this became an important career goal for me.

One of my favorite aspects of public relations is the art of storytelling, but my life became quite the story itself, and my APR went to the farthest seat in the back that was possible. Between losing a spouse and losing one of my parents, with two children to provide for and all the twists and turns that takes, I told myself the APR would just have to wait.

Last year, though, I decided I was ready to go after it again. I’d been in the PR field for going on 15 years now, I’d attended countless educational seminars and PRSA international and regional conferences and sat through a variety of PR summits. I grew up at an engineering firm and created a full-time PR position along the way there, and then took off to the agency side. I spent almost five years getting a vastly different, albeit incredibly beneficial, PR experience there as well. I felt ready and was excited to finally pick back up on pursuing this career goal.

I pulled together my application, I scheduled my panel review and was approved for the exam. I then proceeded to break my ankle, in the middle of summer, as kids’ sports were getting ready to explode and as school was weeks away from starting. So, I scheduled the exam with two days left in my window, on December 28. I got there early (very out of character for me) and proceeded to wait nearly 45 minutes past my test time for the exam to load into the system. I was still allowed the allotted 3 hours and 45 minutes, but I was pressed with a child’s appointment and had only the 3 hours to complete it. I took a deep breath, tried not to sweat too much, and went through it as thoroughly as I could given my shortened test time.

And I failed it…by two questions. I wanted to cry. But I wasn’t about to give up. I rescheduled the exam, sat back down, took another deep breath and took as much time as I had to retake it. And I passed. And I did cry. I had finally achieved my goal after nearly a decade!

It is never too late to pursue the APR – while I take a great deal of pride in reaching this milestone personally, it has also shown my teenagers that hard work and dedication pay off. I hope this has served as an example with them on never giving up and committing to constantly learning as you develop in your profession.



Jocelyn Hodson, APR is an Account Director at Fahlgren Mortine where she helps clients achieve their integrated marketing and communications goals. She can be reached on LinkedIn or at

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  1. Erin

    Aug. 14, 2019

    Congratulations, Jocelyn!


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